Pharos Reasoning

The BSOE IT staff has begun a project to migrate away from small supported printers, strategically replacing them with Pharos printers provided by the Copier Program. Pharos provides features that are difficult or impossible to implement using our small printers. The campus printing/copying service provides Pharos printers campus-wide. They have staff that manage and maintain these printers. We intend to leverage their existing investment in hardware and staff, which achieves several goals:

  • We can reassign the 1/3 FTE that currently manages our small printers to doing things that actually benefit instruction and research.
  • We can monitor usage very accurately and charge people who are printing for exactly what they are using (this turns out to be very difficult with CUPS and Windows printing, and with small printers).
  • We can limit printing to those people who actually have a business need to print; students can use their student accounts to print personal stuff instead of using our paper and toner.
  • You can print to any Pharos printer; they're deployed widely all over campus. If you're in a meeting a Kerr, you can print to the Kerr printer and pick up your job there.
  • Your job doesn't start printing until you arrive. This fixes the problem of unclaimed prints, and of security issues where someone prints sensitive information and then someone else picks their job up off the hopper. It also fixes the problem of someone printing a sensitive document to the wrong printer by accident and then having to run around to 30 different printers to see which one it came out of.
  • We only have to install one printer driver on each computer.
  • Pharos drivers work better on devices not joined to our network, which is most devices.
  • If one printer is broken, you can just walk up to another printer to claim your job rather than having to re-print it. Then when the broken printer is repaired, it doesn't print a second copy of your job which sits in the hopper unclaimed and eventually discarded.
  • You can use the same devices for scanning and copying as well.
  • By reducing wasteful and erroneous printing, we help achieve the campus's goal of zero waste by 2020.
  • By increasing the amount of use the campus printing/copying service gets, we help them build a better system and keep things up-to-date.
  • In the long-term, we intend to redistribute most of the $15,000 we currently spend on paper and toner to each department, and each department will pay for their own printing allowances. Currently there is a huge disparity between each department's printing requirements. Essentially, some departments are currently subsidizing printing for others. For those departments that don't print much, they'll have some extra money for something else. For those departments that do print a lot, they'll have to provide funds to accomodate that printing, or change the behavior of its staff, faculty and students.